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Already a plan had gone around (and, thankfully, was shot down) to demolish the State Capitol building in favor of modern office structures.The Arlington Hotel met with the wrecking ball in the 1960s, as well as quite a few other old buildings in town. So rather than relocating the child services division and finding a new use for this excellent building, they planned to build the “cottages” on the same site.The two-story cupola and flagpole were removed, and most of the fireplaces were taken out, probably because the building was remodeled with central heating. By the mid 20th century, the idea of orphanages was out and the concepts of adoption and foster homes were in.But as the 1950s drew to a close, Sunny Acres’ days were already numbered. So in 1959 the State voted to shut down the Children’s Home in favor of building single-family cottages where children could live in a small, more intimate setting.Boys and Girls Club Gymnasium Actually, that’s not entirely true.The site is presently filled with a scattered mess of buildings, some of them dating back to the 1960s, and some of more recent vintage.Townspeople would donate money to the home to buy the children Christmas presents or a day at the movies.
This is the one part of Sunny Acres that was not demolished, for whatever reason.
So here in the gymnasium we have the one remnant of the old children’s home that used to sit on the site.
And remarkably, it predates even the stone building from 1903.
This new building was not only fireproof but also much larger, and at any given time dozens of children called it home.
The kids were treated well, with warm beds and good food.